Scientists have identified a new class of x-ray detectors based on layered perovskites, a semiconducting material also used in some other types of applications such as solar cells and light-emitting diodes. The detector with the new material is 100 times more sensitive than conventional, silicon-based x-ray detectors.
The perovskite materials work because they are deposited as a sprayed-on thin film, a production method that helps to reduce cost compared to having to grow a large silicon single crystal.
The new perovskite detectors can also detect x-rays over a broad energy range, especially at higher energies. This is because the perovskite contains heavy elements, such as lead and iodine, which tend to absorb these x-rays more readily than silicon. The potential even exists for the perovskite technology to be used as a gamma-ray detector, provided the films are made a little bit thicker and a small external voltage is applied.
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